MANSEHRA: The survivors of 2005 earthquake would stage a sit-in on the 14th anniversary of the tragedy on Tuesday.

“We are still living in small prefabricated houses in a miserable condition 14 years after the tragedy, but successive governments at the centre and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa failed to address our core issues,” said Mohammad Riaz, former nazim of Garlat union council in Balakot, while talking to mediapersons on Sunday.

A group of former nazims and local people led by Mr Riaz said that they would mark the anniversary of Oct 8, 2005 earthquake as protest.

“Our lawmakers and government officials who didn’t pay heed to resolve our issues would rush here only for photo sessions, but we would never allow them to deceive the surviving families again,” he said.

A former councillor, Safdar Hussain, said that hundreds of schools and health facilities were yet to be reconstructed in the affected area.

“The New Balakot City housing project which was launched in 2017 with an estimated cost of Rs13 billion couldn’t be developed as yet,” he said.

The traders would observe complete shutter down and hold prayers at the mass graves in Balakot for the departed souls of victims on the 14th anniversary of tragedy.

“We have decided to observe a complete shutter down strike on the anniversary,” Javed Iqbal, president of the traders’ body in Balakot, told mediapersons following their meeting on Sunday.

He said that successive governments ignored the traders who had lost their businesses in the earthquake. He said that the government had done nothing for their rehabilitation.

Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2019